Social Organizing

Human Development for Social Transformation

Building Tools for Change

Sowing Hope

The CIS promotes a vision of sustainable development, not just short-term projects. Social Organizing in communities means fostering awareness and community participation to protect and improve living conditions in El Salvador. Organizers live and work in their communities striving to educate community members, create community-member-led steering committees to increase participation, make decisions in a collective manner and implement local development plans. We facilitate programs regarding clean water, education, entrepreneurship and more.

Clean Water

Clean-WaterCIS began a clean water program in 2011, partnering with Sawyer Water Filters and Clean water for the world  The CIS clean water campaign not only distributes filters and teaches families how to use and maintain them; we also have a three day program about the environment, health, hygiene and water prior to the distribution of filters or water purification systems.  In 2013, CIS distributed 497 Sawyer water filters to 14 communities in 2013, contributing to a grand total of 976 in 24 communities since 2011.  Click Here for more information

“Before CIS began the Clean Water project, my clinic spent all of our resources treating waterborne illnesses.  Now, we have the ability to invest resources in the prevention of teen pregnancy, dengue and other community and health related issues”. – Doctor from a health clinic from Isla Espiritu Santo

Scholarship and Youth Formation


This is not your average scholarship program.  The CIS’ primary criteria for selecting students is based on economic need due to the fact that students with scarce economic resources often go to school without breakfast and as a result usually do not get the top grades.

CIS promoters provide monthly trainings and reflections to build awareness of youth roles as leaders in the community.  These are students who gain education, develop their leadership skills and “give back” to their communities.  In 2013, 197 High School and 111 University Students benefited from this program.  Click here for more information.


Salvadoran Enterprises for Women (SEW)

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The CIS coordinates with 12 different women’s enterprises together with our partner organization, Salvadoran Enterprises for Women (SEW).  Women’s participation in this program builds organization, self-esteem and improves the family’s economic situation, thus allowing their children the opportunity to attend school.  CIS networks and coordinates with many organizations to ensure the following components of a successful business:

  1. Organizational Development
  2. Skills Development
  3. Marketing and Commercialization
  4. Business Administration and Accounting

These programs cannot be measured with a purely capitalist or first world lens.  Within the Salvadoran reality, the program is contributing to women being an active voice in their communities.

Some examples of businesses we work with are:

  • Indigo Dying
  • Candle Making
  • Natural Medicine and Beauty Products
  • Dairy products
  • Embroidery and Sewing
  • Traditional Salvadoran Foods/Restaurants
  • Bakeries

Click here for more information 

Solidarity Crafts

Solidarity-CraftsvivazportadadefaceContinuing our work empowering women, supporting communities and finding economic stability, the CIS created a Fair Trade Craft Store.  In addition to helping sell crafts, CIS also provides design workshops and opportunities for artisans to take university courses

The fair trade principles we work under are:

  • Democratic participation – workshops use a cooperative business model
  • Humane working conditions are maintained
  • Minimum 50% female participation in each workshop
  • All artists are paid upfront for their work.  No need to return to see if their products are sold to receive payment.
  • Fair prices are paid to artists
  • Local raw materials are used whenever possible
  • Artisan cooperatives are a source of community  support and empowerment

Click here to learn more about the store and the artists we work with.

CIS Community Network

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The CIS Community Network is made up of more than 25 grassroots community organizations that meet bi-monthly to analyze the current social, economic and political reality.  The meetings allow organizers to exchange information, experiences and build awareness around the national reality.

In 2013, the workshops carried out during the bi-monthly meetings included:

  1. Analysis of the Peace Accords on the 21st anniversary
  2. Presentation of sexual and reproductive health (APROCSAL)
  3. Social Construction of Gender
  4. Workshop on the special integral law for a life free of violence against women
  5. History and the root causes of war
  6. Analysis of the reality and the economy with Cesar Villalona

Additionally, the network participated in mobilizations for the human right to water, in support of food security and sovereignty and a protest at the legislative assembly to pass a law to prohibit metallic mining which also damages the environment and water sources.

For more information, click here